With the drought on across the country, especially in the Midwest, the question of the rising cost of food is causing many to think about how they can save money on groceries.
There are a number of strategies you can employ to help you reduce your costs when you go to the grocery store.
Here are few things you can do to help rein in costs when you purchase groceries:
Editor’s note: One tip from me is don’t shop for groceries while you’re hungry. You’re guaranteed to spend more while you shop!
Have a Plan
Your first step is to have a plan. There are estimates that indicate that up to 40% of buying takes place on impulse. You can reduce the urge to impulse buy if you have a plan. Sit down and figure out what you want to eat for the week. What meals do you want? What ingredients do you need for those meals? Make a list of what you need at the store, and the stick with it. Your plan can help you stay on track, and help you avoid making the impulse purchases that can really add to the size of your grocery bill.
Don’t Forget Coupons and Sales
As part of your planning process, consider using coupons and sales. Look at sales flyers, and clip coupons. You can find coupons and sale item online, as well as in the local newspaper. As you plan your meals for the week, consider using what’s on sale, and what you have coupons for, as a guide. If you there is a good sale on something that you use a lot of, stock up at the sale price so that you spend less later. While I’m not a huge coupon clipper, I do try to look at what’s on sale and make some of my purchase decisions based on that information. You can bet that if chicken breast is on sale, we’ll be having chicken later that week.
Buy in Season
Try to buy in season when possible. Also, look local. Part of the price of food items that are shipped long distances is the transport cost. When you buy out of season, and from far away, you are likely to pay a premium. Try the local farmer’s market, and consider buying in season as much as possible. You’ll spend less money over time, and ensure freshness. If you don’t buy in season, consider checking the frozen foods section. Often, produce is frozen at peak freshness, and you can often find it on sale.
Grow Some of Your Own Food
Another good way to save money on groceries is to grow some of your own food. Berries are notoriously expensive — even when they are in season. We grow our own strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries. We also grow our own herbs, another expensive thing to buy at the grocery store. We preserve some of our garden items for future use in our food storage as well. We have a few other things that we grow as well, generally food that we eat a lot of. During the summer, this makes it easier to avoid expensive trips to the grocery store.
From saving money on coffee to saving money on produce, look for ways to make your dollar go a little further. It’s possible, with a plan a little creativity, to save money at the grocery store.